Do you know the benefits of keeping a recovery journal? It is a helpful way to verbalize your emotions and unload the stress in life. By getting in touch with yourself, you can become more grounded in reality. Journaling has been proven to be an effective aid to long-term recovery.
What Types of Journaling Can You Do?
Journaling in recovery from addiction can take various forms. The most common one is keeping a diary about the events of the day and how you feel about them. You can keep the diary close to you and reflect in real-time on what has affected your emotions, including moments when you got upset, anxious, or stressed out. Spelling out your emotions can help you have a sense of awareness and compassion toward yourself.
Another type of journal is an evening reflection diary. You set aside some time to unwind and recall events of one day and how you handled decision-making and emotional regulation. You can also remember small victories in your day. This can be done together with a meditation exercise to prepare you for bedtime. Making this a daily regimen can help give your day some structure.
Some people keep a gratitude journal, which mainly includes positive reflections. This way of journaling trains the mind to unlearn negative self-talk and adopt a positive outlook on life. It can be a daily or weekly journal that includes the things you are grateful for and appreciative of throughout the day or week.
More strategy-oriented people may prefer a goal-focused journal to keep track of weekly or monthly objectives and progress. This approach can help boost your motivation. Entries can be emotional reflections or factual statistics on your progress. Below are a few prompts for starting these different types of journaling:
- Common Diary: “Today was a challenging day. I got upset about…”
- Evening Reflection Diary: “Reflection on today’s family conflict: I could have…”
- Gratitude Journal: “I am grateful for…”
- Strategy-focused Journal: “This week’s goal is to hold my temper. I will do this by…”
What Are the Benefits of Keeping a Recovery Journal?
Journaling has been used by people all throughout time for many reasons. It provides a way for people to connect with themselves, remember life events, and reduce stress. The recovery community has found that journaling is an effective way to manage your emotions without fear of criticism. A journal is a safe space to verbalize your emotions, an important part of self-soothing without using drugs or alcohol.
Expressive diary writing can also enhance cognitive integration and memory processing. You may find journaling clears your mind in times of cognitive or emotional confusion. Besides, strategic journaling can help prioritize goals and responsibilities. In recovery, few things are better than keeping a journal to track your struggles and successes to keep you motivated.
Journaling can be an effective tool in relapse prevention. Writing about past triggers and potential high-risk situations can help you recognize the warning signs of mental relapse before it evolves into a physical relapse. In this way, journaling is a self-accountability mechanism.
How Do You Keep a Recovery Journal?
You should write in whatever way feels most comfortable. You can give structure to the exercise or just let thoughts and feelings flow freely. Find a private, undisturbed place to write so you have no fear of anyone “overhearing” your thoughts as you write them. If you cannot write daily, at least make it a weekly ritual.
If you like to write, try keeping a pen and a notepad handy throughout the day to jot down thoughts and feelings. At the end of a week, read through these notes to reflect and elaborate in your journal. If you’re a more digital person, use the recorder function in your smartphone to record real-time reflections and thoughts.
What Topics Can I Write in a Recovery Journal?
The overall goal for keeping a recovery journal is to ground yourself in honesty and self-awareness. These by themselves can be liberating for someone in recovery. Making journaling into a habit takes time and self-discipline, but once you taste the richness of your reflections, you can develop a positive urge to write more.
The key to making this practice a sustainable recovery support tool is to commit time and stick with it, even on days when you don’t feel like it. If you get stuck, below are a few practical journaling prompts:
- What does self-forgiveness look like for me? Have I forgiven myself?
- What have I learned about myself during the past month of recovery?
- Who and what am I grateful for right now?
- When was I most confident? What made me feel that way?
- Draft a list of 10 things in my life to which I would like to say “No.”
- What skills do I want to learn during recovery?
- What does five years down the road look like for me?
Have you ever tried keeping a recovery journal? Did you know that journaling has a range of benefits such as helping you reflect, connect with yourself, and manage difficult emotions during recovery? There are different several types of recovery journals, and each may help you achieve unique goals. Caring for your mental health this way is important because it is closely associated with your chance of full recovery. If you want to consult with experienced health professionals about effective sobriety management tools, contact our wonderful staff at Laguna Shores Recovery. We have an excellent team of licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists who will do their best to meet your needs. Both your body and mind need to be healed to achieve long-term and sustainable recovery. We are here to walk alongside you. If you need help starting your recovery, we provide a range of treatments. Call us at (866) 906-3203. Sustainable recovery can begin today for you.
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